Finding sources for news coverage or research is important, but using unreliable sources will only hurt your online reputation and make your arguments seem contrived. It’s important to be able to identify which sources are credible and even do reference checks to ensure that they are, in fact, who they say they are. The steps must be taken with caution and care in order to prevent an unnecessary online reputation management crisis.
I say this with good reason. Too many news channels and scholarly journals fall victim to pranks and prankster who claimed to be experts in their field. It only becomes evident that they are not “experts” when the show is already live and the story is already published. This was the case with ABC News yesterday. The news team at ABC 7 learned the hard way why it’s important to check references before airing any news story.
What happened? ABC news anchors were left red-faced yesterday for airing an interview with a man, posing as an official with the Department of Public Works, who claimed to know the cause of the burst pipe in Westwood: “It was either a cherry bomb or someone took a really large dump.” The pseudonym the prankster used to identify himself was “Louis Slungpoo”.
“Are you 100 percent sure about that?” an anchor asked in a professional tone of voice, before the call was cut off, and someone in the studio could be heard saying, “It’s a prank call.”
Seeing as how information on the internet doesn’t actually have to be coming from reliable sources and be completely valid in order to spread, just about anyone is in danger of having their reputation tarnished, including ABC News. Whether it’s personal web reputation or reputation of a company, a lot of money can be lost just because of intentional or unintentional misinformation, not to mention other implied inconveniences.
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